Here recently, I was able to take part in the Star Wars 5k at Walt Disney World. This was such a fun and exciting race that made me definitely want to do another RunDisney race in the future! Everything was thought out and made so easy to use and understand, even I couldn’t mess it up. If you have never done a Disney race but been a little curious to how it all works, I’m here to explain everything!
Day before the race
Depending on what race you are running depends on how much time you have to go and get your race bib, t-shirt and to turn in your waiver. I was running the next day from when the expo began so I had to go the first day. The expo is at ESPN Wide World of Sports. If you have never been, go and check it out. They have all types of sporting events going on over there all year round, it is pretty cool to walk around and see.
The expo is home to all things RunDisney. Like I mentioned, this is where you pick up and handle all the things crucial to your race. If you are staying at a Disney Resort, there are shuttle busses that will take you to and from the expo all day long. I believe they run every 30 minutes or so. I was not staying at a Disney Resort this time but I did have lunch at Disney’s Polynesian Village so I took the Polynesian Resort’s bus to the expo. The shuttle is a large Mears coach which met out front of the resort. There I boarded the bus and then headed to ESPN Wide World of Sports (WWoS).
Before arriving, we went to Disney’s Grand Floridian, and Shades of Green Resort. Once at the expo, you follow the walkway to the main entrance, along the way there is a huge new building called The Arena. Inside this building is all the RunDisney merchandise you could imagine. After you enter the complex there are two additional gigantic buildings. One being directly in front of you and one to your right. The building in front of you is called, HP Field House and the one to your right is, Visa Athletic Center. Inside the HP Field House is where you take your signed waiver that you can print out inside and is where you pick up your race bib. Along the top of your race bib is a perforated section with your shirt size.
Once you’ve turned in your waiver and collected your bib, next is to pick up your t-shirt at the Visa Athletic Center. Once inside you go down stairs to a row of table divided up by the different races. Find your race and give them your bib, they will tear off that section with your shirt size and get your shirt to you. After you have your shirt, technically you are free to leave. I stayed and looked at all the different items they had for sale. I found everything anyone would need, from shoes, headphones, and armbands to hold your phone to post-race lotion. They had everything. It was kind of nuts. Eventually I did leave to head towards leaving the expo, but not before heading into The Arena to check out some RunDisney merchandise. This was also intense. It amazes me how much merchandise Disney makes and sells. I didn’t buy anything but I had to check it out. And yes, they had a RunDisney Spirit Jersey!
The 5K was the first race to take place out of all the others. It was Friday morning and the race began in the EPCOT parking lot at 5:30am. My friends and I got there around 4:30-4:45am to get in our corral. If you are familiar with the EPCOT parking lot, you know that when you come in to park they will park you on the Right or Left depending on what time you arrive. From what I saw all cars were parked on the Right side. Once parked you crossed the road to walk to the other side of the parking lot. This parking lot is HUGE. I never realized this until I had to walk this at 4:30am. Finally we started to see lights, hear music and the ever-famous line of port-a-potties. Once through bag check, they have this for those watching not running, we looped through the parking lot to find our corral. We were in corral B. The race began at 5:30am with the wheelchair athletes starting us off. Following, parts of corral A would begin to start the race. Every 30 seconds or so a small portion of corral A would begin the race. After about 10 minutes or so, corral B started to begin the race in small groups.
We began to run from the parking lot to the road that would lead you around EPCOT towards Test Track. This honestly was the most boring part of the race since there just wasn’t anything to really look at. Just road and dirt, but still so much fun! We would follow this route for a little over a mile, along the route there were huge screens playing scenes from various Star Wars movie along with sets in which you could take pictures with. One was the Emperors throne; I thought that was really cool, however the line was so long! In the distance you could see Test Track, finally something familiar to get your bearings as to where you were.
We continued running over towards the Mexico pavilion to enter EPCOT. We continued out and into World Showcase. The water stop for the 5k, there is just one, is at Norway. Table on the left and right are stacked high with water cups and plenty of volunteers to staff a village. WE continued running through Norway, to China, Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Morocco, and France then we left EPCOT through International Gateway then we ran backstage to then loop around to re-enter World Showcase at the United Kingdom. Continuing through Canada and beginning our way up to Spaceship Earth, but first we ran through the breezeway that takes you towards The Land and then over to The Seas with Nemo and Friends then doubling back towards the Fountain of Nations. From here you ran towards Spaceship Earth but before you got there we would exit to a backstage area that would lead us to the EPCOT parking lot and to the FINISH LINE! I did it! I went from appendix surgery the week before to a 5K, I was so proud of my self and I got a supper cool medal, so not too bad for a Friday morning!
Overall I loved this race and that I was able to do it with some of my best friends! The entire experience was amazing. I cannot wait to do another RunDisney race!! I am coming for you 10k!!! If you get the chance to do a race, do it! It is so much fun! Disney just does it right. I hope this wasn’t too boring of a read, I just wanted to share as many details that I could, I know people are interested and curious about how it all works, so I wanted to share my experience with you all! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and for Natalie sharing my experience with you guys! Have a Magical Day!!